Mesh Storm PCA full review
The Mesh Storm PCA packs a quad-core processor and a powerful graphics card into a highly-competent gaming PC, but not without cutting some corners. See also: Best gaming PCs
Clearly named after your favourite tech advice-based website, the Mesh Storm PCA will appeal to those who want the maximum gaming frame rates for the minimum financial outlay, and for £699 you do get plenty of gaming bang for your spending buck.
Features and design
Based on an Intel Core i5-6500 running at up to 3.6GHz, paired with an Asus Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060, the PC has plenty of power in reserve for even demanding gaming titles. The system also comes with 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory and a roomy 1TB hard drive.
These are all hooked up to an Asus B150M PRO GAMING motherboard which comes with up-rated LAN and sound capabilities aimed at gamers and Asus’s AI Suite 3 management software.
The motherboard leaves some upgrade potential too: only one of the board’s four memory slots is populated making it easier to increase memory if you need it and there are plenty of free SATA ports available as well as an M.2 socket for connecting a PCI Express SSD.
Unfortunately, the Storm PCA comes with no SSD as standard and this is possibly the biggest sacrifice which has been made in order to keep prices down. Booting up a modern PC without an SSD feels like stepping back in time. It won’t affect your gaming performance, but it will affect loading times and it does make the whole system feel rather sluggish and unresponsive outside of gaming. Thankfully, as noted above, there’s plenty of scope for adding one later when funds allow.
The Nvidia GTX 1060 is well known for its excellent gaming performance, but the model used here is the less-powerful 3GB version, which not only has half the memory of the original 6GB model, but also a less powerful graphics processor. This doesn’t amount to a huge difference in practice, but it’s certainly something to be aware of.
The system is housed in a CiT Storm black ATX case, fitted with a red LED fan. It’s a traditional-style tower case with plenty of spare drive bays, cable management and a hinged plastic door at the front, hiding the (unused) optical drive bays. You also get a pair of USB ports at the top. Design-wise it’s clearly a gamer’s case, with its ‘Transformers’ style front facia and transparent side panel, through which the unusual white shrouding of the graphics card can be seen, alongside a Be Quiet Pure Rock Slim compact CPU cooler.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 used here delivers solid gaming performance, generally in the same ballpark as the pricier 6GB version although obviously a little slower. It’s also less suited to running the highest quality settings at the very highest resolutions, such as 4K, due to the lower amount of memory. In general, gaming at 1440p is going to be excellent at very high or Ultra quality.
VR performance is also strong, achieving a ‘High’ rating from the Steam VR performance test, and a ‘super’ rating from the VRMark Orange benchmark which places is comfortably above what you’ll need to play current VR titles. The Be Quiet CPU cooler also did a very good job, keeping temperatures down to a maximum of 57C under full load.
Outside of gaming, the lack of an SSD does make the system feel rather slow, but if you can put up with this, you won’t be disappointed by the gameplay from this sub-£700 PC.
Service and Warranty
The Mesh Storm PCA is supplied with the company’s Gold Warranty which includes lifetime cover for labour and two years’ cover for parts. The first year also comes with a free collect-and-return service and is one of the better warranty deals available.
Mesh Storm PCA: Specs
- 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-6500
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- 8GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
- 1TB HDD
- Aerocool Quiet 500W PSU
- Asus B150M PRO Gaming motherboard
- GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Graphics Card
- 7.1 onboard sound
- 5 x USB 3.0, 5 x USB 2.0
- 1 x 10/100/1000 (LAN), 1x HDMI, 1 x Line In, 1 x Line Out, 1 x Mic-In, 1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo, 4 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0
- CiT Storm Black Atx Case Red LED Fan + Keyboard & Mouse Set
- Dimensions: 215 x 432 x 468mm
- Front ports: 1x HD audio, 1x mic in, 1x USB3.0, 1x USB2.0
- Fans: 1 x 120mm, 1 x 120mm (front / rear)
- Gold Warranty (Lifetime Labour, 2 Years Parts, 1 Year Free Collect & Return)